Author's note: Hey guys, this story is based off of M-and-M-Denver's original story called Alpha (now named... Show full author's note »
ShiftI leap into the water, paws extended. The sun reflects off of the aqua liquid, making it look like beautiful sparkling diamonds. I hit the cool water hard, and my splash drenches the grass surrounding the waterfall pool. I wade slowly through for a moment before I Shift back to human. I pull myself out of the pool, and sit up against the rocks, thick rivulets of the waterfall hitting my now smooth skinned sixteen year old body. I sigh contentedly, and close my eyes. Warmth from the Georgia sun heats my body and the rocks of the Desoto Falls. I could stay here forever, Shifting and being my wolf self whenever I wanted. I can be free here, uninterrupted by the petty notions of human life. Nothing can equal this moment of pure serenity. I change again into a wolf, and jump back into the water. But as soon as I do, I hear a loud voice from the direction of my house call.
“Natasha Winterpike!” I hear my mom’s slightly irritated voice yell, “I know you’re at the Falls! It’s late! Come home!”
I jump out of the pool, and shake all remaining droplets of water from my silvery brown fur. I Shift one last time, and wrap a towel around myself. I dry off, and grab my clothes from where I took them off before I Shifted. I sigh with a bit of remorse. It’s been getting harder and harder to want to Shift back to my human self lately. I’ve only been able to Shift for the past month, and I’ve found that it’s so much easier to just lose myself in the beast within. Every time, it’s much harder to want to be a human again. I’ve honestly considered just Shifting, and then leaving, never to return. Then I remember him, and I realize I would never be able to see him again. That thought alone pulls me back.
I slip my clothes on, and towel my hair dry. I start to jog the mile back to the house. I reach the back door after about ten minutes, and open the screen door before slowly entering the wood one. I cringe as it shuts loudly, and I turn around as my dad clears his throat.
“So I see you were at the Falls again. Why? Is it really that boring here? I don’t want you there all the time alone, sweetie.” He says irritably. I open my mouth to argue, and Mom holds a hand up.
“And don’t even pretend that you were with Sarah.” she says sternly. “I don’t think she has even been there before, ever! We don’t want you going there so late and alone. It’s not safe out there.” I bite my tongue to keep from saying that I can handle myself just fine, any trouble and I’ll Shift and bite their heads off or something. I just look down at my hands.
Mom and Dad take a deep, collective sigh.
“Go take a shower and clean yourself off, okay?” Mom says tiredly. I stomp pass them, all the while knowing that I’m probably overreacting, but lately, along with the Shift, I’ve been unable to control my temper.
Unable to stop myself, I remark, “You guys would never have acted like this when he was still here. It used to be fun.”
I stomp into my room, not even really mad, I’m mean, ‘cause I don’t even really have an excuse to be. I fight of a shiver of guilt for snapping at them. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
I enter the bathroom, and shrug off my clothes. I jump in the shower and stand there for a moment, reveling in the feeling of water on my skin…. If only I could Shift again, I muse wistfully. But my shower wouldn’t hold my form. I sigh once more. It seems like tonight has been filled with sighs of all kinds. Oh well. I guess I’m just going to have to wait longer….
The thing is, is that in my quaint little town, there is next to no place to Shift and be a wolf, running wild, except for in the woods next to our house and the Falls. Now, the woods wouldn’t be so bad if Mom and Dad let me go there more often. But they are scared I’m going to attacked and killed by some psychopath while I’m in there. It’s only if I’m with some one else, or if I’m sneaking out, that I can go into those woods. And I can only do that so often without getting caught! And I can’t exactly Shift and go free with, like, Sarah, or something. It’s so limited here… I mean, I love my town, completely, but it’s just so… well, not fitted for a sixteen year old werewolf, basically!
I smile at my own thought. I sound crazy, even to myself!
I finish up in the shower quickly, despite my not wanting to talk to Mom and Dad so soon. My grumbling stomach betrays me.
When I’m done getting dressed and such, I sit down at the table, ready for dinner. We eat our spaghetti and bread quietly. When we’re done, Mom asks me to help her clean up.
It’s eerily silent as we work. I’ve never known Mom to be that unspoken for that long amount of time. But as soon as I think that, she speaks up.
“Honey, I know you aren’t happy that we don’t want you going up to the Falls on your own, but it just isn’t safe. I don’t know what’s so appealing about it anyways. It’s the same thing over and over! Please. I don’t want you going out there again on your own.”
“Well, there is nothing for me to do anymore though! Not since the move. It’s calm out there, and I can be myself.” I say. Oh, s***! I didn’t mean to say that!
“What do you mean, ‘be yourself’?” Mom says, eyes narrowing. I fidget.
“Um, you know, just… hang out and not do anything. Be lazy and not actively participate in anything.” I lie. Mom just looks at me, and I think that she can tell that I am lying. And she does.
“When will you stop lying to us, Natasha? Just tell us the truth, for once. Please. We can’t help if you don’t confide in us.” she pauses. She turns to the living room where Dad sits watching baseball. “Honey, come in here.”
I’m getting mad now. Like, mad as in seeing red.
I dig my nails into my palm until I feel them break skin. I’m about to lose control and Shift in front of Mom and Dad, and I can’t do that lest I want to become some sort of freak in my parents eyes- well, even more than I already am. I look down at my palms so quick it’s almost imperceptible, but I see four bloody crescent shape cuts in my hand. I look down again. They’ve healed, almost instantly. I wipe of the blood on my dark jeans, and wait for Dad to come into the kitchen.
He eases himself out of his old leather chair with a faint creak, and slowly enters the room. His eyes flick from Mom to me in a faint motion, and then settle on Mom. A mental conversation passes between them, and it frustrates me even further that I can’t understand what’s going on in their heads.
Silence rings out for a moment, and then Mom takes a deep breath.
“We know what you are, Natasha.” She says very softly, almost so quiet that I can’t hear anything she says.
“What do you mean?” I say, not looking at either of them, instead settling my gaze on the door I came in only an hour or so ago. Dad’s voice isn’t as faint as Mom’s when he speaks.
“We know you’re a wolf, Natasha.” he says matter-of-factly. My blood boils over at this, and now I can’t control anything that I say or do from that point.
“I knew you didn’t trust me!” I yell. “What did you do, huh? Follow me out to the Falls? Put cameras in my shoes? Hire someone to follow my every move? Huh? I’m sixteen years old, and you guys can’t give me a single modicum of privacy! This wasn’t something that you guys absolutely needed to know! If you suspected that something was going on with me, you could have just talked to me! And instead you have to do what you did!” I scream. “What are you going to do now? Sell me out to magazines, or expose me on TV? What! I’m allowed to have secrets! Why could you do this! Couldddddn’t you have just a littttttle bit of trrrrust!” I growl, already starting to Shift. My clothes rip off as I morph. I land on all fours as I become fully wolf. I bare my fangs at them as I snarl. I look at the door, and as soon as they realize what I’m about to do, I do it, too fast for them to even consider stopping me. I jump through the glass door leading outside, breaking it. Glass shatters all around me, like a rainfall of deadly, but beautiful, solid rain. I shake any loose shards off my fur, and run as hard as I can, heading for the woods.
Now that they know, I’m not safe anymore. I love my parents, I really do, and I don’t doubt that they are good people, but something like me- it’s something I don’t think anybody can resist telling someone about.
And I just can’t be discovered.
I reach the shadowy tree filled area, and run until all that I can see is leafy limbs extending towards me from all directions, every thing dark and hardly seen, and when I look up, you can see but a sliver of sun, the sky dark and mysterious with a mixture of dark, dark crimson and burgundy, the only color besides being faint splashes of orange and midnight blue, clouds an unmistakable red.
It looks like the sky is bleeding.
Darkness clouds my mind as I ceaselessly run, the wooded area infinitely extended, my thoughts my only companion. I can’t ever go back. And then one thought almost stops me in my tracks.
I might never get to see him again.
It’s been two years, since he moved. He just packed up and left, supposedly leaving for California.
I say supposedly because he hasn’t contacted me since. Nothing. No letters, no pictures, no emails, texts, phone calls, nada. Not even a freaking postcard.
But I know he isn’t mad at me- there is no way. When he left, he didn’t want to leave. Not at all. He loved this state. He loved this town.
He loved me.
I know he will contact me sooner or later, I just don’t know when.
I let myself drown in memories as I stop at a tree, lost in the middle of the forest. I look up at the towering pine. I can’t even see the top of it. I Shift into human, not cold even when naked. It never gets cold here, even at nightfall. It only ever gets slightly chilly in the dead of winter.
I wrap my arms around my body, hating myself for not having the insight to grab my clothes before I left. I’m going to have to climb the tree, and that is going to be VERY uncomfortable in my present state of nudity. I grit my teeth. I hoist one foot in an indent in the truck. I climb up, step by step, pushing down the urge to scream in pain with every hand and foot hold. But this is a small sacrifice compared to what could have happened had I stayed at home. This is a better option. Well, at least, I think it is.
I curse at myself in my head. What if I just completely over reacted? What if my better judgment was clouded by the wolf, and Mom and Dad were never going to tell anybody, like I assumed that they would? Oh, what is wrong with me! Why does the wolf have to do this all to me! I didn’t want the wolf to change me, mentally! I was okay with the physical change, because I knew that was who I really was inside! Oh, my gosh, I’ve ruined everything! But I can’t go back now. It’s too late. There is nothing I can do.
I find a good nook where my wolf self can rest without falling, in a spot where I’m hidden from the ground. I Shift carefully, my paws locking around the trunk as soon as they morph from human to wolf. My hind legs scramble at the sturdy branch, trying to prevent from falling off. I get a good grip, and settle down in the branch, nestling my head in my furry stomach for a makeshift pillow. I wrap my tail around the branch, in case I fall off when I sleep. It’s not the strongest area in my wolf body, but it’ll keep me up long enough should I fall, long enough for me to right myself.
I close my eyes, and drift off, adrenaline worn off, paws and legs sore from all the running. I fall asleep comforted with thoughts of Alexander.
I frowned, big, fat tears running down my face.
“Why do you have to leave?” I cried. I clutched at him, holding him tight, like if I held him tight enough, he wouldn’t have to leave. Wouldn’t have to leave me. Didn’t he realize that if he left, I would just die inside?
“It’s not my choice.” Alexander said sadly. “I have to leave- it’s just- you don’t understand. I have no choice. It’s for your protection.”
My face betrayed my confusion.
“How could this be for my own protection? Don’t you know that I’m safer with you, no matter where we are?”
A single thin tear glistened and slipped from Alexander’s right eye.
“I’m so sorry, Nat. But that isn’t the case in this situation. I know you don’t understand right now, but you will. I promise.”
I cried harder.
“You also promised me that you would never leave me!” I sobbed. “You can’t do this! I love you, Alex!”
His face grew shocked. I’ve never said that before. But now that I’ve said that, I’ve made him feel even guiltier. I mentally curse at myself. I played my final card, something I didn’t mean to let slip yet. And even though I’ve said it, I can tell now that it won’t change anything. He’s going to leave- no matter what I do.
He leaned into me, and gave me a hard kiss, holding me like he never wanted to let me go. Then he broke the kiss, breathing hard.
“I’m so sorry, Nat. But I have to leave. It’s not up to me.” he repeats sorrowfully.
He turned to leave, backpack nestled on his shoulder. He stopped once at the door. He craned his head around at me.
“I love you too, Nat.”